Labor leaders talk 2017, Trump and the future

Stephon Johnson | 12/29/2017, 12:46 p.m.
The year 2017 was a tough year for labor unions and union advocates, but those on the front lines championed ...
President Donald Trump CNN/Pool photo

Weingarten concluded, “While the Republicans passed a bill so they could get home for the holidays—the day after passing a tax bill to reward their donors and the rich—these priorities of the American people remain outstanding and demand swift action in January.”

Unions are still fighting an uphill battle. The recent passage of the 479-page document known as the Republican tax bill was a massive transfer of wealth from the poor and middle class to the wealthy. Corporate tax rates fall from 35 percent to 20 percent and the richest 1 percent of Americans get a 2.2 percent increase in after-tax income next year

Companies such as AT&T doled out $200 million in bonuses to its employees after the Republican tax bill passed. Trump pointed to those actions as proof that corporations were doing right by American workers now that they have more money at their disposal. But according to recent reports, AT&T plans to lay off more than 1,000 workers once the new year rolls around. Workers in nine Southern states, states that mostly voted for Trump, will be affected by the layoffs.

Applebaum said his union is working with other labor leaders and advocates nationally to push policies that protect workers such as the aforementioned AT&T employees.

“The RWDSU has been stalwart in our efforts, despite the Trump administration, to continue to fight for elected officials, laws and regulations across the country that will help working people— and the RWDSU’s work in Alabama to help secure Senator-elect Doug Jones’ historic win is evidence of that,” said Appelbaum. “In 2018, the work continues and the RWDSU will combat any attempts by federal, state or local authorities to hurt workers’ rights.”

32BJ said that recent elections have proved that Trumpism isn’t the way of America.

“Our victories this year have shown us that when we keep fighting for workers, we can win even with Trump in the White House,” stated 32BJ’s representative. “We join with our brothers and sisters in the union movement and allied organizations to keep fighting for workers, for immigrants, for racial justice, for environmental justice. And we will mobilize working families to fight for our rights and to elect progressive candidates across the country who stand with us in 2018.”